Effective communication hinges on knowing your audience

Communicating effectively involves several important factors. According to Mike Thompson, these include taking ownership of the situation, staying focused, and knowing your recipient’s personality style.

Mike TThompson, a business coach with ActionCOACH in New Berlin, Wis., discussed these nuances during a recent meeting of the New Berlin Chamber of Commerce. He offers a different perspective on the art of effective communication: “True communication is the response you get.” Meaning, did he or she do or say what you hoped for?

One problem in business communications, Thompson says, is that workers don’t always take ownership of an issue. It can languish, with no action by the recipient.

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Writing well for social media is a must

writing for social media, writing and punctuation for social mediaPeople seem to forget–or just disregard–the importance of writing well for social media, even their personal accounts. Keep in mind that what you put out on social media becomes identified with you: It’s all part of your brand. And what you put on the Web stays on the Web.

PRNews Online offers six reasons why the rules of grammar still apply. Although the column is aimed at PR professionals, the reasons apply to everyone. Social media addicts should review that list, paying particular attention to Rules 2 and 3 (Professionalism and Respect). Do you want to be taken seriously? If so (and you should) adhere to the rules of grammar and punctuation while writing for social media.

Grammar and punctuation errors on social media (and forums, for that matter) are as varied as the writers themselves. But I’ve seen several types of mistakes time and again. Let’s review these. If any apply, make an effort to improve. (Of course, if your copy suffers other ailments, work on those as well.)

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Strengthen leadership skills with improved communication skills

Jason VanderPal, Rotary Club of New Berlin, New Berlin RotaryImproving your communication skills can improve your leaderships skills as well, according to Jason VanderPal. VanderPal a sales trainer with a a very successful sales career under his belt, discussed this during a recent meeting of Rotary Club of New Berlin. VanderPal walked us through his formative years with a major retailer out west.

Employed at Guitar Center in California for several years, VanderPal was asked to give a speech during the firm’s 2007 national conference. That presentation was so well received, he was offered the manager’s position at Guitar Center’s Hollywood location – their flagship store. “I have a 20-minute speech to thank for that,” he says.

Interested in enhancing his public speaking skills, VanderPal joined Toastmasters, then enrolled in an intense, three-day workshop created by renowned public speaking trainer Bill Gove. VanderPal shared some important tips from that training.

1. Make a point, then tell a story. Segue into your story by saying, “Let me give you an example.” Examples and stories help audience members understand your point.

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Tell your story to connect with your audience

Have you ever attended a presentation that put you to sleep? (Maybe one of your presentations had that effect!) Or, how about the presentation that all but slipped your mind by the following day?

A presentation can fail for a number of reasons. One cause is a lack of stories. Good stories are powerful tools, noted Rob Biesenbach during this month’s Milwaukee PRSA meeting.

Rob BiesenbachBiesenbach, who owns Rob Biesenbach LLC, kicked off his presentation with a few stories of his own. A long-time Chicago resident, Biesenbach has “commuted” to Milwaukee at least 150 times over the years. He has also traveled around Wisconsin. He learned to ski in the state, observed the infamous goats atop Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay, and got married in Lake Geneva.

As a result, we in the audience developed a connection to Biesenbach. Which is one of his points. “Story telling is one of the most powerful forms of communication,” Biesenbach says. “It breaks down barriers.”

Our brains are naturally receptive to stories, Biesenbach says. Research has shown that 63% of an audience will remember stories told during a presentation, while only 5% will recall the stats that were provided.

Stories work because they:

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Important reminders of telephone etiquette

how to speak clearly by phone, phone etiquette tips, telephone etiquetteSpeaking clearly is important all times. We accept that in business settings. We sometimes let our guard down, though, during private conversations. Of course, some of that is acceptable. After all, no one is perfect and no one expects perfection from others.

There is a fine line between casual and sloppy conversation. If you want to be–and remain–a polished speaker, you should practice the fundamentals in every instance. Some people think they can switch on the communication skills when needed (say, for a business presentation). That’s not as simple as it seems. Speaking clearly when necessary becomes easier when you commit to speaking clearly all the time.

Consider your phone or Skype calls, social gatherings, and other private events. Every time you open your mouth to say something, use the opportunity to practice what you’ve been taught. Eventually the principles become second nature, and you’re speaking well in all circumstances.

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